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Brumbies close to securing finals

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Brumbies close to securing finals berth

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has revealed his backline is firing thanks to some mid-season tweaks from assistant and former Waratahs star Peter Hewat.

The Brumbies are on top of the Australian conference with three Super Rugby rounds to play on the back of set-piece dominance and enterprising backline play.

Winger Henry Speight and outside centre Tevita Kuridrani have been the major benefactors with their red-hot form helping the Brumbies win five of their past six games.

McKellar believes the duo’s prolific try-scoring over the past month warrants them a Wallabies recall ahead of the World Cup in September.

“Speight is benefiting off the good work of those inside him in both attack and defence,” McKellar said.

“Our backs have clicked, (assistant coach) Peter Hewat has done a really good job there.

“We did a thorough review a couple of months back in and around our decision making and option taking and I think our backs have got t hat right.

“Speight benefits off the back of that, as has Tev. He’s also in a really good place. They’re happy, and if Fijians are playing with a smile on their face they’re generally playing well.”

Kuridrani notched a hat-trick against the Bulls last weekend to boost his season tally to nine while Speight has four tries so far this campaign.

The Brumbies can all but secure their finals spot with a win against the bottom-placed Sunwolves on Saturday.

A bonus-point victory in Tokyo will take the Brumbies to 39 competition points, which was good enough for seventh last season. Eight teams play finals.

It would also mark the Brumbies eighth win in 2019. The Sharks played finals last season with seven wins – the first year Super Rugby returned to 15 teams.

The Brumbies are unbeaten against the Sunwolves in five clashes and are heavy favourites extend that run.

The Brumbies missed finals for the first time since 2012 in McKellar’s first season last year, but they look set for a return having already fulfilled their Wallabies resting requirements.

The Brumbies can be temporarily overtaken in the Australian conference by the Rebels (33 points), who host the Waratahs on Friday.

NSW (26 points) remain a mathematical finals chance but that will evaporate with anything short of victory against the Rebels.

The Waratahs also still have to rest Australian players Kurtley Beale, Bernard Foley, Michael Hooper, Rob Simmons and Sekope Kepu to comply with the Wallabies pre-World Cup program.

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Brumbies close to securing finals berth